I am struggling with this. It seems to confirm the meaning I learned many years ago but then it all gets contradicted when we get venir de... where de itself is taking on a different meaning and is being used as a conjunction instead of an article. Maybe we need to forget the translation as "there" and formulate the rule as en replaces de and y replaces à.. and place is irrelevant?
Your idea at the end is correct: "y" replaces a phrase introduced by "à" and "en" similarly replaces a phrase introduced by "de". Their usage is much broader than simply replacing locations. Yes, sometimes "y" will be translated by "there" but taking this as the rule will get you off track. Better to remember the correspondence:
à + place --> yde + place --> en
There's a lot of idiomatic usage of "y" and "en" you sometimes have to swallow whole, without trying to translate it. Here are just two examples to demonstrate the versatility of the two little pronouns "y" and "en":
Ça y est! -- Here it is! Here we are! Finally! That's it!Tu m'en veux? -- Are you mad at me?
Just as an aside: "de" is never an article. "De" is a preposition.
Thanks Chris.. I think the confusion comes when they start by telling you it equates to "there".
My problem is that this was ingrained in me back in my school days and unlearning something is harder than learning it in the first place... I do see the new rule but instinct continually overrides it!
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